The Economic Times: 20-30% candidates fake references on res...
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20-30% candidates fake references on resumes

By Varuni Khosla, ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: Nearly 20-30% candidates tend to fake references even when 70% HR managers rely on them for quality hires, says a TimesJobs study with responses from over 650 recruiters. The significance attached to references is so much so that, 58% employers always contact the references (for background checks) provided by the applicant.

Despite such preference for references from the HR managers, 20-30% candidates fake references in their resumes, state HR Managers in a TimesJobs study.

Indicating fake references as one of the key pain areas for any recruiter and a losing ground for job seekers, Sujaya Rao an independent HR professional says, “Job seekers typically share references of people who can put in a commendable good word for their work. But often during reference checks some of these references put in a pale mention of the candidate.” 

Reference checks are very significant say majority of employers 

Underlining the significance of reference checks, 40% hiring managers say that it ensures better and informed hiring decisions. Nearly 30% HR managers say it helps exclude applicants with inappropriate workplace behavior behavior and for 21% it helps them check the cultural fit of the candidate. 

48% HR managers state reference checks are the most crucial aspect while hiring for middle level positions 
40% HR managers find reference checks important when hiring senior professionals
12% HR managers say reference checks are necessary for hiring junior level employees
Only 9% of the surveyed HR managers claimed that reference checks are not of much importance to them and only a basic random check may be conducted while hiring a candidate. 

Reinforcing the benefits, Sunil Goel, MD of GlobalHunt, says, “It is very important for the hiring managers to know the truth behind the resume. Since, it is difficult to get the facts from the job seeker in a 1 or 2 hour long interview where the focus is also on other aspects, including – body language and personality, conducting reference checks seems to be the ideal method.” 

False references are jeopardising careers 

The frequency of fake resumes encountered by the HR managers is so high that almost 10-20% applicants are rejected every month post their reference checks say the surveyed employers. This is because of the high rate of false references provided by job seekers, which result in most HR managers developing unfavorable opinions towards the job seeker, often leading to rejection. 

59% HR managers say they develop an unfavorable opinion towards a candidate post a false reference checks, while 

36% HR managers say they develop a favorable opinion towards the candidate post a positive reference checks 

Only 5% HR managers say references don’t matter to them and the interview is the deciding factor 

In view of this finding Zarin Bhathena, senior VP and head - HR, Wordline - South Asia and Middle East, said, fake references have long-term repercussions. “References lend credibility to an employee’s character. On conducting a check, if the reference turns out to be false, the organization may or may not terminate the individual but the trustworthiness of the employee is definitely hampered." 

Nilanjan Roy, head of strategy, Times Business Solutions said, “Ensure the references you provide in applications are credible, and that these people are able to provide an honest appraisal of your skills." 

 "In addition, employers are increasingly scanning candidates' social references. For instance, even though facebook is a personal space, inappropriate comments, images or complaints have led to rejections of some candidates in the past. So ensure your posts and settings are strong across all your social media." adds Roy. 

This TimesJobs Study was conducted with inputs from over 650 HR Managers pan-India across key sectors including IT, telecom, manufacturing, healthcare, retail, FMCG, consumer durables, travel and hospitality, BFSI, media & entertainment, infrastructure, BPO and ITeS.